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What Would it Cost the Leafs to Land Tavares?

Miikeee D.Correspondent IApril 15, 2009

OSHAWA, ON - JANUARY 14:  John Tavares #91 of Team Orr skates in the 2009 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game against Team Cherry on Wednesday January 14, 2009 at the General Motors Centre in Oshawa, Ontario. Team Orr defeated Team Cherry 6-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Brian Burke has openly said that he will heavily pursue moving up in the draft in order to acquire John Tavares. When he made this announcement at the pre-lottery press conference on Tuesday afternoon, the Greater Toronto Area’s hydro bill went through the CN Tower as the imagination light bulbs of millions of couch potato GM’s went off at the same time. The city pondered: What could the Leafs trade to get John Tavares?

In 1999, when Brian Burke magically landed the 2nd and 3rd picks in the draft to get the Sedin twins, he did so by trading someone and someone, using multiple teams. Let us examine possibilities for strictly a two team deal between the Leafs and the Islanders.

But Snow should keep the pick.

First round pick? Definitely. In 2009? For sure. And in 2010? Possibly.

Young prospects? Naturally. Grabovski? Kulemin? Tlusty? At least one of the three.

Quit beating around the bush, Burke, you know what the Islanders want. Schenn? Now we’re talking.

Burke said that nobody on the Leafs is untouchable - including prized defenseman Luke Schenn. However, Schenn is as untouchable as an touchable player can get, if that makes sense. Frankly, all this touching and untouching is making me feel like I’m on Neverland Ranch. But you get the point.

In order for Burke to make a deal to get Tavares, he is likely going to have to give up his biggest chip in Schenn. I really don’t think it would bother Burke that much to give up Schenn. Firstly, Burke did not draft Schenn. Sure, he said it was a great draft pick by Cliff Fletcher, but it is not smart to openly criticize a high pick of a team that you just inherited. Secondly, if he has to trade away a stay at home defenseman from Western Canada for a dynamic forward from Toronto’s backyard, Burke wouldn’t think twice.

Already rumors are spreading in local media. One rumor has the Leafs trading Nikolai Kulemin, Luke Schenn, Jason Blake, cash, and a conditional first round pick in 2010 to the Islanders for the rights to the first overall pick and a roster player.

That is a lot of players going one way. I don’t know if the Islanders would want Blake back. I don’t even know if the Leafs want Blake back. Even with the quality of players going to the Island, the prospect of John Tavares being the face of your franchise is impossible to pass up.

If Brian Burke wants it that bad, Garth Snow should make him pay for it. Burke is willing to overpay, and Snow should force Burke to over-over-over pay. Kaberle, Schenn, Grabovski, Tlusty and a crap load of draft picks is the only way Snow should make a deal with the Leafs.

But Snow should keep the pick.

The Leafs as a trade partner would be more interesting if they had a decent farm system, but they don’t. Their prized blue chip prospect is Justin Pogge, Nikolai Kulemin and Jiri Tlusty. Weak.

If anyone has a good chance at offering good young talent for Tavares, it is Philadelphia. James van Riemsdyk, Claude Giroux, Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa. Those are true blue chip prospects that nobody else can offer. They can even offer Daniel Briere (plus cash to pay half the contract) to entice Snow. Throw in Matt Carle. Why not? The guy has already been traded three times in three years. If any team wanted to make a more realistic run at Tavares, it would be the Flyers.

The Los Angeles Kings wouldn’t be a bad trade partner either. They can dangle their own first round pick this year (fifth), plus Oscar Moller, Jack Johnson, Thomas Hickey, Wayne Simmonds, and Alex Frolov.

But Snow should keep the pick.

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